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The Politics of Chemistry
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Book description

Agustí Nieto-Galan argues that chemistry in the twentieth century was deeply and profoundly political. Far from existing in a distinct public sphere, chemical knowledge was applied in ways that created strong links with industrial and military projects, and national rivalries and international endeavours, that materially shaped the living conditions of millions of citizens. It is within this framework that Nieto-Galan analyses how Spanish chemists became powerful ideological agents in different political contexts, from liberal to dictatorial regimes, throughout the century. He unveils chemists' position of power in Spain, their place in international scientific networks, and their engagement in fierce ideological battles in an age of extremes. Shared discourses between chemistry and liberalism, war, totalitarianism, religion, and diplomacy, he argues, led to advancements in both fields.


‘Scientists were prominent in building Spain’s democratic Republic - two, the chemist José Giral and the physiologist Juan Negrín, became prime ministers. Science under the Franco dictatorship was dominated by one chemist, José María Albareda while another, Manuel Lora-Tamayo, was Minister of Education and Science in the 1960s. This fascinating and totally original work examines the links between chemistry and politics in a way that casts its light far beyond the specifics of Spain.’

Paul Preston - London School of Economics and Political Science

'After taking sides during the Spanish Civil War, chemists either emigrated, endured persecution in Spain, or supported the Franco regime - the latter often selling out their colleagues in the process. Today the Fascist chemists are honored in Spain, but not their victims, an injustice this path-breaking and important book will correct.'

Mark Walker - Union College, New York

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  • Introduction
    pp 1-19


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